Twitter Douchepreneurs and Power Networkers

I've been using Twitter since 2007, back when people mostly tweeted about their sandwiches. Like most people, I didn't "get it" at first and I've gone through all the phases from becoming inactive, to kind of getting it, to finally sticking with it. I like it because it connects me to what's going on, but I mostly like it because I like people. I like real people, with all their imperfections and even their sandwiches. But Twitter got really popular and this attracted all sorts of people. Like fake and inauthentic people. Literally. Corporations and companies have Twitter accounts now, which isn't really the problem. The problem is people douchepreneuring themselves as brands and mass following people based on hashtags and keywords. I'm no expert, but I don't think this is how networking works, at least networking with real authentic people. What do you prefer? To have 1000+ followers with maybe like 3% of those paying attention? Or to have 100 people that really like you? This is probably one of the reasons why kids find Twitter so uncool and why Snapchat has become their go to medium. Twitter and other social platforms like Facebook pressure people into putting up a sort of a performance, while a service like Snapchat takes that pressure off, by literally making your stuff disposable, thus weirdly making people behave more authentic. I'm not saying that you shouldn't look for people based on the topics you're interested in. That's what makes the internet so awesome, that we can connect based on shared interests. But don't act like some sort of Twitter bot following everyone that mentions the word business for example, and then unfollow and discard them like a worthless baseball card. You should at least look at the last 10 tweets before deciding to follow someone on Twitter. Just common sense you know. Just, be real. Be human. 

The Advice Podcast Racket

Be wary about career advice podcasts. The people in these podcasts are mostly generalists and their success is based on telling people how to be successful. Seek advice from the people that are doing the thing that you actually want to do. If you want to be a web designer or a tattoo artist then seek out those people. I’m not saying that you won’t gain any value from these podcasts, but they really don’t have the specific knowledge and insight that you need in order for you to move on from that giddy optimism we all get from the self-help racket, to the true exhilaration of getting out there and doing your thing. So take your headphones off every know and then, and start doing some CSS sprites, or putting ink in people’s skin.

Molly Crabapple Interview on The Great Discontent

Didn't know much about her other than her Vice piece on Guantanamo Bay she did a while back. She's a super talented artist and writer.  Love the advice she gives to young artist starting out. This is her on motivation:

If you need to talk about how to get motivated, then go get a normal job in the normal scheme of the world and just do art as a hobby so you still love it. Stop clogging up the field for the people who need this like a drug.

Michael Beirut - A Short Doc for The Creative Influence

The Creative Influence does short documentaries on people in the creative field. For episode 13 they talked to Michael Bierut. He talked about working for Massimo Vignelli, the impact of the internet on design, and what makes logos endure. One thing that struck me in particular was what he said about how the internet has changed things in terms of promotion. In pre-internet days it used to take companies at least a year to see if their message was catching on. Today, if your Youtube video isn't getting enough likes or enough tweets, you start to question what your doing wrong. But to quote:

People's first reaction of things isn't necessarily reliable.

He starts talking about about this particular topic around the 3 minute mark, but the whole doc is treasure throve of design wisdom.

The New Stock Photography

Khoi Vihn takes a look at the stock photography offered today, particularly free options like Unsplash and others:

There is good stuff to be had on all of these sites, especially if you are in the market for photos with shallow depth of field, tastefully toned color palettes, and a preponderance of “authentic” visual textures: antique wood, thick glass, weathered brick, and maybe some flannel here and there. And don’t forget the vintage cameras and modern laptops, which are freely mixed together as if they were the most natural pairing in the world.

There are sites like Startup Stock Photos which as Vihn describes, "[everything] looks like it was either shot inside, nearby, or by an employee of a Brooklyn farm-to-table restaurant." I think it's great that we have these options. The photos on Unsplash, which I have used in many of my school projects, are spectacular, but as you can infer from Vihn's tone, these photos have a particular hipster aesthetic that can become limiting if you're looking for something else.

 

How We Read

Jason Santa Maria has a new book out called simply On Web Typography. It's the latest from the A Book Apart collection. A List Apart has an excerpt from Chapter 1

Fig 1.4: Though the letters’ lower halves are covered, the text is still mostly legible, because much of the critical visual information is in the tops of letters.

Fig 1.4: Though the letters’ lower halves are covered, the text is still mostly legible, because much of the critical visual information is in the tops of letters.

The guy knows his stuff. I'm sold.